Exodus: Gods and Kings Blu-ray Review
If you’d told me Ridley Scott was going to team up two of the greatest actors of a generation, put them together and then at odds with each other, make it a period piece with lots of big-range scenery and special effects, large battles and set pieces, I would have initially jumped at the idea… and then realized I’d already seen it in GLADIATOR with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, and then wonder (and hope?) if he could somehow repeat the formula that made GLADIATOR such a success while still allowing it to garner great critical (and award’s season) acclaim.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS spends far too much time feeling like Scott’s attempt to make GLADIATOR 2: The One Set in Bible Times and not enough time setting its own storyline. From the opening moments we learn of Moses’ favor with his adoptive father (an interesting pharaoh-father figure played by John Turturro) who tells Maximus… err… Moses that he can’t pass his crown to him because Moses is not his blood. But the mere fact that he would be willing to do so enrages Ramses’s mother (Sigourney Weaver) and pits Edgerton and Bale at odds.
Of course before the film is over you’re treated to the various plagues and punishments with which you’re familiar if you are from a spiritual life that embraces the Old Testament. If you’re not, then what you’ll find here belies all explanation I’m afraid. Where Crowe and Scott pulled off some very artistic moments in GLADIATOR they were fewer and father between than the fantastical pace of wonder that is EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS… and yet the pacing feels entirely off for the duration of the film. It feels sloppy, in spite of the gargantuan talents of Edgerton (who does what he can despite being horribly miscast in this role) and Bale (who, well, is also pretty poorly used in this film).
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is the type of movie you hope no one will ever make, the type of mark on a filmmakers history you wish you could erase and never think of again. Scott, here, has presented the same formula to the point he used in his prior film. And yet nothing feels thought out, nothing feels fully finished. I can forgive Ridley Scott because he is an iconic filmmaker and this is most likely an unseemly blight on his generally great record of filmmaking. But I worry this is where he is headed and hope that I’m wrong.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is the type of movie I would have salivated over in the late ‘90s and 2000’s, but it lacks the heart of that eras period pieces and lacks the dramatic structure necessary of such a huge undertaking. The only thing impressive about EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is that it somehow made it to the theaters and onto home video before someone realized what a travesty they had created.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video presentation of EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is not the problem… it is immersive and beautiful.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio for EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS is a wonderful mix that takes advantage of all of the religious/sci-fi presentation of the film.
Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott and Jeffrey Caine An interesting commentary that makes me appreciate Ridley Scott even more while furthering my mistrust of his cinematic choices and future career all at the same time. There is some absolutely great material here on one of the better commentaries I’ve listened to of late, but it doesn’t make up for the abysmal final product.
The Exodus Historical Guide – A trivia track that includes historical references, a sort of biblical pop-up video (if you recall that age of MTV). A little bit absurd, but perfectly at home on EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (14:57) Many scenes are included here but are missing a majority of the special effects and finishing touches, making them laborious to watch even if the content was interesting… (it isn’t).
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS also comes with a DigitalHD digital copy of the film which can be redeemed through either UltraViolet, iTunes, or Google Play accounts.